HYDE PARK — The University of Chicago on Wednesday morning announced the formation of a new institute — The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflict — thanks to a $100 million donation from the Pearson Family Foundation.
The new institute will create four new professorships at the university studying “a new era” of conflict fueled by non-state actors, terrorist groups and drug cartels.
“The imperative is to identify new strategies now that will address the spectrum of entities engaged in violent conflict from global superpowers, to state and sub-state, and non-state groups," said Thomas Pearson, chairman of the Pearson Family Foundation and a member of the executive council at Cohesive Capital Partners.
"Cold War-type solutions alone are less effective in today's era of global conflicts, which requires a complex interaction of military, economic, political and cultural factors."
None of the four professorships have yet been filled and the first appointee will also serve as the director of the new institute.
The institute will be part of the Harris School of Public Policy and will include an annual forum of policy analysts and scholars on global conflicts.
The gift will also create new scholarships and fellows programs available to masters and doctorate students in the public policy school.
Tim and Tom Pearson are both graduates of DePauw University and have no academic connection to the University of Chicago.
Tom Pearson said he and his twin brother shopped the institute around to about a dozen universities before landing on U. of C.
“At the end of the day in Tim and my judgment it was a very easy decision,” Pearson said. “We’re looking for a very long-term partnership that will hopefully have the success we want.”
Daniel Diermeier, dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, said the university offers a rigorous data-driven approach to policy analysis that has already turned up startling discoveries, such as terrorist groups effectiveness at recruiting of highly educated people for to complex missions.
Five for Fighting lead singer John Ondrasik opened the announcement at Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St., with a performance of “World” in front of a video of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and refugees packed into rafts.
The location of the annual forum and the permanent home for the new institute has yet to be determined. The policy school is planning to move to the New Graduate Residence Hall, 1307 E. 60th St., a building designed by Edward Durell Stone, who also designed the Aon Center Downtown and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
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